While the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at sporting events has been mired in controversy over the past year, the uproar over the national anthem at the NBA All-Star Game Sunday night had nothing to do with political statements or bended knees.
Viewers were perplexed by singer Fergie‘s throaty, bluesy delivery of the Francis Scott Key song as she took the court at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The Black Eyed Peas star sang in a slow, sultry manner, drawing meme-worthy reactions from the basketball players in attendance and vicious reviews on Twitter.
Though many, including NBA commentator and former Lakers star Shaquille O’Neal, defended the performance, the Twittersphere didn’t hold back from giving its harshest Simon Cowell-style critiques.
Just watching all the players’ reactions to Fergie has me dying pic.twitter.com/1887xdKW2M
— Athlete Tweets™ (@AthleteTweetsO) February 19, 2018
— C. Shaw (@Frankie_P32) February 19, 2018
Everyone who saw Fergie sing the National Anthem please look directly into your phone.
You're welcome pic.twitter.com/WljjSDVezZ
— girl posts (@girlposts) February 19, 2018
— Matt Traynor (@matttraynor) February 19, 2018
Fergie's anthem performance was a rich, emotional tapestry. pic.twitter.com/dE1ReUFcTu
— Maggie Serota (@maggieserota) February 19, 2018
Draymond Green out here reacting for America pic.twitter.com/JAkDH9wRLV
— Mike Leslie (@MikeLeslieWFAA) February 19, 2018
Even celebrities piled on, with Saturday Night Live‘s Leslie Jones tweeting that NBA officials might as well have asked her to sing. Former national anthem pariah Roseanne Barr, who caused outrage with her own off-key, crotch-grabbing rendition at a 1990 San Diego Padres game, quipped that she had done a better job.
Who saw Fergie's national anthem performance at the NBA All Star Game? I think mine was better lowkey
— Roseanne Barr (@therealroseanne) February 19, 2018
This All Star opening is confusing me. WTF is going on? Anyone?
— Khloé (@khloekardashian) February 19, 2018
Meanwhile back in the states… I leave for a couple of days and y’all lose your muthafucking mind!! Why did this happen? Not everyone supposed to do this y’all! You might as well should have ask me to sing. Wtf?!https://t.co/M7eIzgGBrk
— Leslie Jones (@Lesdoggg) February 19, 2018
Fergie’s rendition of the National Anthem was originally written by Francis Scott Out of Key.
— bob saget (@bobsaget) February 19, 2018
Marvin Gaye also went the unconventional route with a sexy, soulful take on the national anthem at the 1983 All-Star game. His interpretation is now considered a classic, so you can’t blame Fergie for trying something new. Let he who can hit every high note cast the first stone.
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